In an intimate gathering on August 25, Congressman Don Bacon met with nearly a dozen DREAMers at the UNO campus to address concerns regarding immigration.
Dr. Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, a political science professor at UNO organized the meeting between Bacon and the students in efforts to create an open-dialogue surrounding DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) during a time of uncertainty.
Students expressed their concerns regarding reports that President Trump will end DACA before Sept. 5th, the deadline Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and attorney generals from nine other states, including Nebraska’s Attorney General Doug Peterson, gave Trump to eliminate DACA or they’ll sue.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty in regards to DACA right now and I thought it was important for the students to get the chance to meet face to face with their congressman and let them know what they’re feeling and get the opportunity to ask him questions,” said Alvarado.
Students took turns sharing their immigration stories and asked Bacon to support the nearly 3,000 DACA recipients in Nebraska.
“I personally think I’ve set up for this country academically very well and to have a piece of paper be the only thing keeping me from being what I want to be, it’s very unfortunate,” said Cesar Magaña Linares, a student at UNO.
One student told Bacon, “I want to encourage you that this [DACA] is working. Yeah, it’s a headache – but it’s a big protection for me and my family.”
“You are not a headache,” Bacon replied. “It’s complicated, but I will do my best to support you because I think there is a place here for young students who are doing the work and are good neighbors.”
“Some of the kids came at 2-3 years old. And I think in every case, from all the students I spoke with – they don’t even remember anywhere else but the U.S. This is their home,” said Bacon. “So I think it’s the right thing to do. I don’t want this to be a political thing. I want this because it’s right.”
Linares said DREAMers need the support of politicians like Bacon, who could sway others in their party.
“I think it's great that we have a congressman here in Nebraska that stands on the side of DREAMers - a group that has been disadvantaged in so many ways and somehow has still managed to make a living in this country and it's great to see a representative see value in students like me and everyone else in Nebraska that needs protection that DACA provides,” said Linares.
Bacon pledged to support the Bridge Act and said he will serve as a champion for undocumented youth in Nebraska.
Bacon said he believes there should be more compassion towards undocumented immigrants who are in the states ‘making good choices, are good neighbors and wanting to do things the right way,’ however, says the solution needs to focus on homeland security, implementing e-verify and making sure immigrants don’t overstay with their visas.